The bell ringers of Parham

Written by  Christine Teal Wednesday, 14 November 2018 10:54
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Gord Bertrim ringing the bell Gord Bertrim ringing the bell

Did you hear them?  Songs from the "Second World War  Era" played softly, while the bells tolled out in the clear night sky...well 69 times, unfortunately the rope broke, we had to improvise by borrowing Will & Melody Cooke's "Hand held Hug" Bell.  These bell chimes were rung to remind all of the 100th Anniversary of the signing of the armistice that ended the fighting of the First World War... the Great One, Royal Canadian Legion in partnership with Veterans Affairs Canada, hoped that bells all across Canada as well as in Mons, Belgium, the final town liberated by the Canadian Corps in 1918, would ring out loud and clear on the night of Nov. 11.  The joy and relief that must have been felt when the war ended, after a war that was so bloody and destructive with so many lives lost. Many of the dead were so very young.

Chris Bertrim started the service with prayers as Doris Campsall lit candles, symbolizing the lives lost and the hope for peace evermore.  Each of the 5 bellringers rang the bell for 20 times, for a total of 100....one chime for every year.  Gordon Bertrim, rang the bell in memory of his Father Private James (Jim) Bertrim of the 146 battalion.  Donna Fox rang the bell in memory of her grandfather Private John (Jack) Campsall of the 20th Canada Infantry.  Bernie Quinn pulled the bell for the Volunteer fire fighters Keith Steele had the honour of ringing it for the Parham United as did May Walton for the Parham Free Methodist Church.  The service ended in prayer led by Pastor Ken Walton.  He prayed for all those who had served in the Canadian Forces and for all those who continue to defend the peace and freedom we enjoy today and asked that the bodies, minds and souls of those who have been wounded in their efforts be healed.

There were some interesting conversations before and after the service. Gordon Bertrim is the last survivor of the list of veterans on the Tichborne United Church's roster (there is no roster in the Parham United Church) Mary Howes’ inlaws (Earl & Eva Howes) had donated the bell to the church.  Donna Fox and Chris Bertrim called their Grandfather "Poppy".  Keith remembered hearing of his uncle Clifford Steele being made Sargeant just days before he was killed.  Will & Melody Cooke reminisced about Mel's father, Art Goodfellow, going to the Remembrance Day services with his comrade Ken Hollywood.  Dan Hayes, grandson of Ed Hayes who was a veteran, volunteered to fix the bell.  Don Ball, son of Gordon Ball, also a veteran who recently passed away, rode his bike to the service, from Ball Point.  Also in attendance as well as those mentioned above were John & Michael Morrow.  A big thank you to Mary Howes who organized this service. Coffee and sweets ended the evening. 

"May we Always Remember"

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